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Georgia Aquarium increases revenue from email marketing with IBM Commerce

By Emeka Aginam
SAN DIEGO, CA –  Largest aquarium in the western hemisphere, Georgia Aquarium  has said that its revenue from email marketing with the IBM Commerce has increased by 32%.

With the collaboration, IBM has  helped the largest aquarium in the western hemisphere to  reinvent the way it designs and delivers seamless visitor experiences across all touch points.

However, the aquarium uses IBM Silverpop Engage, a cloud-based digital marketing platform within IBM Commerce, to easily manage these campaigns.
With the solution, visitors receive one triggered email prior to their visit, which provides details about their upcoming day at the aquarium and one email post-visit that focuses on collecting feedback from the onsite experience giving the marketing team the insight it needs, while engaging with each visitor at a personal level.

From left: Deepak Advani, General Manager, IBM, Commerce, Blake  Chandlee,Global Partnership, Facebook, Jo Kenrik, Director of Marketing, Homebase, David Walmsley, Director of Marks and Spencer, Ashu Garg, General Partner, Foundation Capital, and Jonah Berger, Associate Professor of Marketing, Whartson School  in a press conference Tuesday in San Diego, the United States of America at the IBM 2015 Amplify conference. Photo by Emeka Aginam
From left: Deepak Advani, General Manager, IBM, Commerce, Blake Chandlee,Global Partnership, Facebook, Jo Kenrik, Director of Marketing, Homebase, David Walmsley, Director of Marks and Spencer, Ashu Garg, General Partner, Foundation Capital, and Jonah Berger, Associate Professor of Marketing, Whartson School in a press conference Tuesday in San Diego, the United States of America at the IBM 2015 Amplify conference. Photo by Emeka Aginam

For marketers to succeed in today’s buyer-driven world, they must think on the customer’s terms,”  Deepak Advani, General Manager, IBM Commerce, said at  one of the keynotes at the just concluded IBM Amplify conference 2015 held in San Diego, the United States of America.

” In order to be successful today, marketers must meet customers when, where and how they want to be communicated with. Georgia Aquarium’s success, basing programs off of visitor insights, highlight the importance of this new way of marketing.”, he added.

“Prior to revamping our digital marketing program, we were missing out on a lot of potential revenue,”  Rosie Judd, Director of Digital Media for Georgia Aquarium., said , adding that, “We went back to the drawing board – literally – and spent countless hours mapping a visitor’s path across different touch points.

“Then, we created one campaign at a time. After putting in place several tailored, automated campaigns, we have seen a huge increase in engagement rates and continue to build on this  on this momentum”

With four distinct goals in mind: customer acquisition, customer loyalty, renewals and reactivation, Georgia Aquarium, Judd said has set out on its plan of rebuilding its entire digital marketing program.

The steps of this process, according to Judd  included the establishing Buyer Personas.  Buyer personas, which according to Aberdeen Research can equate to 73 percent higher conversions, are a representation of actual customers based on market research and data including demographics, behaviors, motivations and goals.

As Georgia Aquarium continues to become more sophisticated and personalized in its digital marketing outreach, Juddexplaind that the company plans  to establish an automated member renewal program and more customer behaviors from multiple channels including purchase insights, milestones, visit history and behavior, Web visits and mobile app experiences.

Meanwhile, venues such as zoos and aquariums attract more than 180 million annual visitors, which is more visitors than the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB’s annual attendance combined, with approximately 3.6 million households making repeat visits.

In order to better capitalize on this market opportunity, Georgia Aquarium, which houses an expansive array of aquatic animals, he said  needed to rethink the way they engage with customers to create return visitors – increasing both customer loyalty and marketing ROI.

To make the experience from online interactions to in-person aquarium visits more seamless, the small marketing team implemented a three step process.

In an effort to continuously listen to the guests’ experiences and make subsequent improvements to both on and offline interactions, the Georgia Aquarium marketing team chose to focus on the pre- and post-visit experience for its initial pilot program.


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